Illustrator Interview – Yvonne Mes

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Yvonne and Quinten

Yvonne and Quinten

I feel I have been a little remiss as one of my goals with this interview series over the past three years has been to highlight up-and-coming illustrators, who are not yet published but whom I want to get on your radar. I am also doing my best to invite more non-American illustrators over the next few months to broaden our perspective. So today I am very happy to introduce you to a fellow 12X member and FB friend, Yvonne Mes.

[JM] Illustrator or author/illustrator?  If the latter, do you begin with words or pictures?

Author/ illustrator, I usually begin with words, though wordless picture book ideas start as a bunch of sketches. If I start with words and feel that I would like to illustrate this story then the sketches and words start influencing each other.

[JM] Where are you from and how has that and/or where you have lived/visited influenced your work?

I am from Amsterdam, the Netherlands and moved to Australia as young adult. I lived in a small country mining town in the vast outback of North-West Qld for over a decade until I could no longer stand it and had to get back to city life. I now live in Brisbane. I love diversity in cultures, in art and maybe that is why I appreciate many forms of art, and illustrations.

[JM]Tell us a little of your beginnings and journey as an artist.

My parents took my brother and me to many Art museums in Amsterdam and Europe, from modern art to the impressionists, and I loved these visits, so I had an interest in art from an early age. My dad took up visual arts as an adult and would let me use his materials. When I took a break from my early childhood profession 5 years ago, I enrolled in a full-time visual arts course, and it is one of the best thing I have ever done.

[JM] Did I mention that I have lived in Amsterdam? Love the city! Do you have a preferred medium to work in?

It has changed from acrylic, to oils, digital and now I love experimenting with watercolor pencils and ink. I love the feel of charcoal.

[JM] Do you have themes or characters you return to in your art?

My family, especially my three sons, I do a lot of boy illustrations and images – but mainly I am all over the place and haven’t really developed a theme or character yet.

[JM] What does your workspace look like? 

workspace close workspace

[JM] Can you share a piece or two with us, maybe of a WIP, and the process of creating them?

Most illustrations start with a loose sketch and then I develop it from there.

Hmm, I have never documented the process of a piece, though it is something I would like to do more of. I’ll see what I can find.

storyboard 4 and 5


Ahab character sketch2

Ahab – character sketch

Ahab ASA no text

[JM] What sort of picture books do you like? (quirky, wordless, quiet……..)

I am extremely eclectic in my picture book tastes: I love a good story but I am always first drawn to the illustrations. I am in awe of author/illustrators and at the moment. I get very excited when I see a picture book that is slightly darker or edgier, Dillweed’s Revenge, by Florence Parry Heide for example really hits the spot, and those illustrations by Carson Ellis are just gorgeous and fun!

[JM] What organizations/groups do you belong to help further your career?

Probably too many!


Book Links Inc.Write Links (Brisbane Children’s Writers)

BIG (Brisbane Illustrator Group)

QWC (Queensland Writer’s Centre)

ASA (Australian Society of Authors)

Julie Hedlund’s 12×12

Doodle Day/ 52 week challenge (Fun illustration challenges on Facebook)

[JM] What art do you have hanging in your apartment?

My children’s art, my own art, my father’s art, art by Australian Indigenous artists from Mornington Island. My grandparents had many paintings displayed in their house which my grandfather collected over his lifetime and each family member was instructed to pick a painting after they would pass. I now have one of their painting in a special spot in my house. I also have some reproductions of Paul Gaugain and Henri de Toulouse Lautrec.

Five Fun Ones to Finish?                                                                                               [JM] What word best sums you up? 


[JM] If you could live anywhere for a few months, where would you go?

New York

I hope that is my bad influence?! 😀  

[JM] What’s your go-to snack or drink to keep the creative juices flowing?


[JM] Cats or dogs?




[JM] Which literary bad guy do you like the most?



[JM] Had to look Magneto up! Where can we find/follow you and your work?

My web/blog:

Facebook author page:

Twitter: @YvonneCMes

Yvonne, thanks so much for sharing some of your journey with us today and to your success!

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32 Responses to Illustrator Interview – Yvonne Mes

  1. One of my favorite illustrators (and favorite people!) Thanks so much for the interview, Joanna! 🙂

  2. Meg Miller says:

    Love your artwork Yvonne! Your work space looks a lot like mine! 😀

  3. Tina Cho says:

    Great interview! I love your sons’ artwork on your wall, Yvonne!

  4. LOVE seeing the workspace. And “argh” – haha! Yvonne, you are truly unique as a person and an artist, and you have my admiration on both counts. So great to see Ahab coming alive. Thanks for featuring Yvonne, Joanna!

  5. Wendy Greenley says:

    Really enjoyed learning more about Yvonne and her artwork. Constantly in awe of the multi-talented people in 12×12!

  6. Great post, Yvonne and Joanna! It was very fun to see an illustration from Ahab’s story. Pip is so cute! If you come to New York, please tell me! And my favorite part – the word you chose to sum you up: Argh! I’m going to have to steal that 🙂

    • Joanna says:

      Yes, Yvonne wins the prize for most unique one-word-self-summation!

    • Yvonne Mes says:

      Thanks, Susanna. Ahab has undergone a few transitions since you last saw him 🙂 And I would LOVE to go to New York and share some sweet goodies with you and Joanna! But it may have to wait quite a few years! Argh!

  7. John Zwiebel. says:

    Leuk om dit interview te lezen Yvonne.veel dingen komen mij bekend voor.

  8. Yay! Yvonne in the spotlight! I would love to hear more stories from the rural years in the ‘vast outback’ – picture book stories of course!

  9. Sylvia Liu says:

    Thanks for sharing, Joanna and Yvonne. I always learn something new in these interviews, even though we interact a lot. I foresee great things for you, Yvonne.

  10. Joanna says:

    Thanks, Sylvia, I love doing these interviews.

  11. Magneto is AWESOME!!! 😛 Great interview! 😀

  12. Yvonne Mes says:

    Thanks again Joanna, for thinking of me when diversifying your Illustrator Interviews. I feel really honored. <3 Hardstikke bedankt!

  13. Catherine says:

    So nice to get into your world, Yvonne. Those illos are wonderful! I’ve visited Brisbane it is a great city to walk around. Thanks, Joanna!

  14. Delightful interview and so much fun to see your WIP for Ahab. It’s beautiful! Pip is the cutest ever!
    Thanks, Yvonne and Joanna!

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